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Bridesmaids | Manolo for the Brides - Part 4
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LOVE/HATE: The ‘A Little Mixed Up’ Edition

Let’s say you’re just not feeling the whole let-the-bridesmaids-wear-anything-they-want thing but you think having a wall of solid color bridesmaids dresses makes for a boring look. Plus you’re too scared to try bridesmaids’ skirts because so much could go wrong, and you don’t really care for the coordinated by mismatched bridesmaids thing, either.

Here’s my suggestion: mismatched bridesmaids’ accessories on otherwise matching bridesmaids. You can have them, as above in a beautiful pic by Jolynne Photography, all in black or any other color you like with a rainbow palette of necklaces and earrings. Or you can keep everything the same from the knees upward, and have your otherwise matching bridesmaids all don pretty shoes in that same rainbow palette.

mismatched bridesmaids shoes

It works so well with black bridesmaids dresses, but you don’t have to limit yourself to that love-it-or-hate-it hue. I adore the idea of mixing things up just a little bit in the bridal party – it’s like the perfect middle ground for those who aren’t so keen on seeing a line of completely identical bridesmaids, but also don’t care for the whole mismatched bridesmaids trend.

What do you think? Did you or will you have all your ‘maids wearing the sames shoes and accessories or are you mixing it up?

No Saying ‘BRRRR’ For These Bridesmaids!

Can anyone else feel just a touch of autumn in the air? *brrrrr* I sure can. And when I think of autumn, I think of all the ladies in the wedding party getting goosebumps. It’s tough to cope with wedding weather, isn’t it. In the summertime, the guys are sweating in their suits and at winter weddings, bare-armed bridesmaids are in danger of losing limbs if the thermostat is set too low. Now I’ll of course 100% support the bride’s decision to wear a strapless, gauzy sheath dress at her autumn wedding, but I’d rather not see the poor bridesmaids freezing their buns off at those November nuptials just so everyone looks uniform in the wedding photos.

One solution you frequently see is the wrap. Then there are the true pashminas. And stoles, though you see those far less often since fewer people wear fur and the faux fur ones look costumey. Oh, and of course the bolero. Sometimes you even see the bridesmaids at autumn weddings and winter weddings huddling near heaters swaddled in the groomsmen’s jackets! Which isn’t exactly the best look.

Maybe once in a while we can all ditch the cover ups? I mean, even as a guest at cold weather weddings, I feel that it’s pretty darned difficult to find a dress that has sleeves and also doesn’t look like something made for a 75-year-old pre-calculus teacher. I am SO SO SO loving the photo (by the amazing Cliff Mautner) above, which features bridesmaids decked out in chocolate brown sweaters with matching skirts made by the bride’s mother. They look absolutely ready for an outdoor ceremony that might be subject to a brisk breeze or two. My guess? There wasn’t a goosebump in sight!

LOVE/HATE: The ‘Badassery’ Edition

We all like to poke a bit of fun here at the bridal models who glare into the camera, sniff their pits, contort themselves into positions you need a chiro to get out of, and wait around hotel lobbies. But what about the real couples and attendants who do similarly strange things in actual wedding photos? I thought it would be fun in upcoming editions of LOVE/HATE to take a look at some popular poses struck and facial expressions adopted by bridesmaids, groomsmen, bridesmen, groomsmaids, brides, and grooms.

The inspiration for this little series was the hugely popular badassery snapshot where everyone looks angrily into the camera with expressions that say “Why the #$%@ are you taking my picture?” and “You want a piece of me? Do ya?”

Or even “You’ve trapped me in this dungeon and I am very angry at you.”

So what you think of all the camera glaring, angry mug making, PO’ed looking brides, grooms, and attendants appearing in wedding albums these days? I kind of hate it, but I’m also one of those folks who has a big grin in my passport photo and on my license. I like a big goofy grin more than I do a pout. How about you?

(Images via: ? and Ed Pingol)

If the Shoe Fits, Match It

Nearly a year ago, I posted a poll asking whether your bridesmaids’ shoes needed to match, and 38% of you responded with “No. Who cares?” But if you add them up, a whopping 51% of you believe that the bridesmaids’ shoes should match if the wedding is formal or if the bridesmaids dresses would just plain look better with matching footwear. So why does it matter? Why should one care, one way or the other? If you’re not a natural shoe lover, have you considered that more and more shoe pics are finding their way into wedding albums? There are the wedding rings on the heel of the bride’s shoe photos, the bride and groom’s feet photos, the attendants from the knees down photos, the bride’s shoes with the bouquet photos, and more.

So if you are in the ‘matching shoes sometimes’ majority or in the ‘yes, always’ minority, and you know that your wedding photographer is going to zoom in on your feet and the feet of your bridesmaids, why not go for something a little funky? In this pic by Mike Bresnen we see bridesmaids gone wild in sweet strappy heels featuring some kind of pseudo animal print. When I think about how I’d replicate the look, I think I’d take it to the next level, with bridesmaids in popping red dresses and zebra print heels. Tacky? Maybe. Awesome? Yeah, that, too.

Would you put your bridesmaids in a funky shoe or is it going to be traditional all the way at your nuptials?

You Can Dance If You Want To (But You Shouldn’t Have To)

On this, the final day of bridesmaids week – hey, it was a five-day business week – I wanted to address a tradition that I know for a fact makes at least some people a little uncomfortable. I know this because I am one of those people. Specifically, I am talking about the tradition of having all of the wedding attendants, bridesmaids and groomsmen, bridesmen and groomsmaids, dance with one another at some point during the whole first dance, father-daughter dance, mother-son dance string of scheduled formal dancing. It’s actually considered a tad passé to ask the attendants to have a go on the dance floor, but you still see it occasionally at some wedding receptions.

Since this tradition seems to be dying out anyway, there’s really no need for me to put it down, I suppose. But just in case there are any otherwise happy bridesmaids out there reading this who are dreading the thought of slow dancing with some friend of the groom they have never seen or sniffed, I thought I’d share my three reasons for not particularly liking the attendants’ dance. As I see it, this old tradition is…

1. Awkward: While I actually wish that there were more opportunities for social dancing that included switching partners in a platonic, fun way, I still think that having to cut a rug with someone you may find icky while 75+ people look on is just plain weird. It’s one thing to dance with an unfamiliar partner – one who may never have heard of Arthur Murray or mouthwash – and quite another to do it on demand while a photographer circles the dance floor. And if you’re a young junior bridesmaid, it’s even weirder.

2. Boring: So now the wedding guests have sat through the first dance, the father-daughter dance, and the mother-son dance, and perhaps the bride and groom also invited their grandparents up for a waltz. Even if you edited your chosen songs down, you’re still potentially talking about a good quarter of an hour’s worth of dancing on display that the guests have to sit through while they wait for the refreshments.

3. Ineffective: If the bride or groom’s goal is to get people to shake their booties, there are easier ways to do it, like hiring a good DJ or leading by example and shaking it themselves. Because, really, I think that wedding guests can sense the awkwardness of the attendants’ dance, and I don’t know anyone particularly inspired by embarrassment.

I’d recommend that any bridesmaids like myself who aren’t keen on dancing with a random groomsman and suspect that the bride is considering an attendants’ dance at the reception suggest letting all of the enrelationshipped attendants dance with their SOs and then, halfway through the dance, inviting other couples to join them for a special slow dance. Or better yet, suggest that the marrying couple not force their wedding guests to sit through one more spotlit dance.

Now I have to ask: Bridesmaids and former bridesmaids, have you ever found yourself on the parquet in the arms of someone just awful because you were obliged to participate in an attendants’ dance?

(Image via BeDazzled Photography)

LOVE/HATE: The ‘Mustachioed Mamas’ Edition

Two years ago, Offbeat Bride declared that mustaches were hot. That may have been, but the fervor either hasn’t cooled or the trend has come around again or mustaches are just now making their way into the mainstream. Because you know what? I am seeing more and more mustache wedding gear, from the recently posted mustache wedding stationery set to wedding pictures that feature everyone from the bride and groom right on down the line wearing fake ‘staches.

Being that it’s bridesmaids week here at Manolo for the Brides, I had to, of course, find a snap of bridesmaids sporting the mustache look. (And now, of course, I can’t find the photo source so if anyone happens to know, speak up.) I personally am pretty cool when it comes to being silly – act my shoe size? No prob! – and I love the idea of asking people to participate in zany reception activities. But I know plenty of people out there endeavor to be way more dignified in their daily lives than yours truly. So I want to hear from bridesmaids: Should brides and grooms take those folks into account when they ask their attendants to play dress up in the wedding pics? Or since bridesmaids and groomsmen technically have the right to say nay, is it okay to require that props be used in the photos?

How Much Is Too Much to Ask?

Brides can ask a lot from their bridesmaids. Not all brides, of course, but some do expect their bridesmaids to enthusiastically assemble favor boxes, address envelopes, fly to Vegas, and so forth. And most brides do expect their bridesmaids to at least buy matching or coordinating dresses, though there are a unique few who ask for nothing more than a LBD, preferably one that’s already in the bridesmaids’ closets. So what I’m wondering today, on this, the third day of bridesmaids’ week, is how much is too much when it comes to brides asking bridesmaids to put time, effort, and money into their wedding day ensemble? Is it okay, for example, for brides to:

Ask their bridesmaids to buy matching shoes?

How about adding the expense of matching jewelry on top of the dress and the shoes?

(more…)

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